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EPL PHOTOS: Reds continue march towards title; United down Newcastle

Last updated on: December 27, 2019 09:25 IST

United down Newcastle after Saints stun Chelsea on a dramatic night in the English Premier League.

Here are Images from all the English Premier League matches on Thursday.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates with manager Juergen Klopp on scoring their third goal against Leicester City at King Power Stadium in Leicester

IMAGE: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates with manager Juergen Klopp on scoring their third goal against Leicester City at King Power Stadium in Leicester. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

Rampant Liverpool moved 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League after Roberto Firmino struck twice in an emphatic 4-0 win at second-placed Leicester City.

The victory was inspired in large part by attacking right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold who created three goals and scored one himself.

 

With Firmino deadly in front of goal and Liverpool in total control throughout, it was a performance that suggested the title race is all but over at the half-way stage.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has been vocal in his criticism of his team's intense schedule but the European champions showed no signs of any adverse influence from their trip to Qatar, where they won the Club World Cup.

A trip to Leicester, who went into the game unbeaten at home this season, was the toughest test of the season, but Klopp's men passed the test with barely a hint of drama and it will now take an extraordinary slump for them to fail to win their first title of the Premier League era.

"We played really good football after all the travelling and intense period, yes it is the best performance of the season and we controlled it, to get four goals is something to be proud of," said Alexander-Arnold.

"You don't really think you will be 13 points clear but we are happy to be in this position and we won't take it for granted. This is the Premier League and anything can happen," he added.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates with Jordan Henderson and Andrew Robertson on netting their fourth goal 

IMAGE: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates with Jordan Henderson and Andrew Robertson on netting their fourth goal. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Popping up in the inside-left position, Alexander-Arnold floated a pinpoint cross to the backpost for Brazilian Firmino to head Liverpool into the lead in the 31st minute.

Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel then produced an outstanding close-range save to foil Sadio Mane and Liverpool would be have been disappointed to go in at halftime with only the solitary goal.

Liverpool were utterly dominant but had to wait until the 71st minute to extend their lead when Alexander-Arnold's corner struck the left arm of Caglar Soyuncu and substitute James Milner slotted home the penalty with his first touch of the ball.

Firmino then made it 3-0, collecting and firing home a powerfully struck low-cross from Alexander-Arnold before the 21-year-old rounded off the rout, hammering a low shot into the far, bottom corner at the end of a swift counter-attack.

Liverpool have 52 points from 18 games; Leicester are on 39 points from 19 matches and Manchester City are 14 points behind the leaders before their game at Wolves on Sunday.

"It's one of many successful nights so far this season," said Milner.

"We are not even halfway. So much can change and happen. The strength of this team is we tale it one game at a time."

Martial scores twice as United crush Newcastle

Manchester United's Anthony Martial scores past Newcastle's keeper for their fourth goal at Old Trafford in Manchester

IMAGE: Manchester United's Anthony Martial scores past Newcastle's keeper for their fourth goal at Old Trafford in Manchester. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Anthony Martial scored twice as Manchester United hit back in emphatic fashion from a rocky start against a benevolent Newcastle United to open their Christmas programme with a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford on Thursday.

After a 2-0 loss at Watford last weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had demanded a response from his players but a yellow card for Scott McTominay after 24 seconds and going behind to Matty Longstaff's 17th-minute goal was not what he had in mind.

It was all smiles later though as Newcastle folded and Martial, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford all struck before halftime before Martial scored again early in the second half as United moved back to seventh, four points off the top four.

United have now won 21 Premier League games on Boxing Day for a win percentage of 81% -- more than any other club.

With midfielder Paul Pogba also coming on after halftime, only his second appearance since September because of injury, United will hope to end an up-and-down year with a flourish with a trip to Burnley looming on the horizon on Saturday.

"Against Watford we were not good enough for our standard but the boys showed a great intensity today and we thoroughly deserved the three points," defender Harry Maguire said.

"We have now got a big game in two days and our story so far has been a good performance and then a not so good one."

 Manchester United's Mason Greenwood fights off a challenge by Newcastle United's Sean Longstaff

IMAGE: Manchester United's Mason Greenwood fights off a challenge by Newcastle United's Sean Longstaff. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Newcastle have made steady progress up the table under former United defender Steve Bruce and could have gone above United with a win on Thursday. So when 19-year-old Longstaff tucked his shot past David de Gea after linking well with Joelinton the away fans went wild.

It was Longstaff who scored the winner in the reverse fixture at St James' Park this season, but any sense of dread for the Old Trafford faithful soon diminished as United sparked into life to play some flowing football.

Six minutes after Longstaff's goal, United were level with Martial's shot squeezing in at the near post when Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka should really have kept it out.

Newcastle offered United another gift as they tried to play out from the back but merely gave the ball to 18-year-old Greenwood who thumped a left-footed cracker in off the crossbar.

It was Greenwood's ninth goal of the season in all competitions and his emergence as a genuine goal threat has lifted the weight of expectation off the shoulders of Rashford who made it 15 for the season when he rose to head home Aaron Wan-Bissaka's inviting cross before halftime.

Newcastle's slipshod defending reached its nadir in the 51st minute when Sean Longstaff's careless back pass was pounced upon by Martial who Dubravka with ease.

"We had a horrible 20 minutes before halftime," Newcastle boss Steve Bruce said. "For the last two or three months we have been hard to beat. I know it's Christmas but I don't think Man Utd can believe it, we've made too many mistakes."

Newcastle, who have now lost more Boxing Day games in the Premier League than any other side (14) remain in 10th spot.

Spurs rally to sink Brighton

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Thursday

IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Thursday. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored in the second half as Jose Mourinho's side came from behind to claim a 2-1 home victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Thursday.

Kane followed up his own shot to equalise in the 53rd minute and cancel out Adam Webster's first-half header and Alli put Spurs ahead in the 72nd, knocking in a pass from Serge Aurier to complete a move inspired by substitute Christian Eriksen.

Spurs were reeling from a disheartening home 2-0 loss to Chelsea and a sleepy atmosphere gripped their stadium early in the game, which was briefly lifted when Kane put the ball in the net before a VAR review ruled the effort offside.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Adam Webster wins an aerial challenge against Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez to head in his team's first goal 

IMAGE: Brighton & Hove Albion's Adam Webster wins an aerial challenge against Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez to head in his team's first goal. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Brighton, who had thrashed Spurs 3-0 in October in one of the final games under Mourinho's predecessor Mauricio Pochettino, went ahead when defender Webster appeared unmarked to head in a Pascal Gross free kick in the 37th minute.

Mourinho left club record signing Tanguy Ndombele out of the squad but brought on Giovani Lo Celso and Eriksen after Kane's leveller and the move paid off as Eriksen foxed Brighton's defence with a cross-field pass which Aurier flicked to Alli.

The victory took Tottenham up to fifth in the standings on 29 points after 19 games and left Brighton in 13th on 20.

Saints stun Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Southampton's Nathan Redmond celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

IMAGE: Southampton's Nathan Redmond celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London. Photograph: Chris Radburn/Reuters

Goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond earned Southampton a surprise 2-0 win at Chelsea in the Premier League on Thursday.

Obafemi broke the deadlock with his first goal of the season, bursting inside from the right and curling into the top corner after a tight opening half hour.

Frank Lampard changed his side's formation from 3-4-3 to 4-2-3-1 at the break and nearly earned an instant dividend as substitute Mason Mount set up Tammy Abraham, who flashed a shot into the side netting.

Saints winger Redmond was denied by Kepa Arrizabalaga on the break but coolly finished for the visitors' second after an impressive team move to silence Stamford Bridge.

The hosts struggled to break down Southampton's tight defence, and Ralph Hasenhuttl's side rise to 14th, three points clear of the relegation zone, building on last weekend's win over Aston Villa.

Chelsea stay fourth with 32 points from 19 games and must pick themselves up for their visit to Arsenal on Sunday.

Ancelotti gets winning start as Everton edge Burnley

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti celebrates with Djibril Sidibe after beating Burnley at Goodison Park in  Liverpool

IMAGE: Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti celebrates with Djibril Sidibe after beating Burnley at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Action Images via Reuters

Carlo Ancelotti enjoyed a winning start as Everton manager with an 80th-minute Dominic Calvert-Lewin header earning a 1-0 Premier League win over Burnley at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Burnley had been typically resilient in defence, while posing few questions of Everton, and it took a high-quality finish to separate the sides.

Djibril Sidibe whipped in a cross from the right which Calvert-Lewin met with a superb angled diving header which flew in off the inside of the far post.

Sidibe had gone closest to breaking the deadlock with a low drive in the 32nd minute which Burnley keeper Nick Pope did well to keep out with his leg.

Burnley's best opening came three minutes later when an Ashley Westwood free kick found Chris Wood at the back post but the New Zealander headed over the bar from a promising position.

Italian Ancelotti, a Champions League winner with AC Milan and Real Madrid was appointed by Everton on Saturday to replace the sacked Marco Silva.

Aubameyang goal earns Arteta's Arsenal draw at Bournemouth

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action during their match against AFC Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth

IMAGE: Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action during their match against AFC Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

A second-half equaliser from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Mikel Arteta a point in his first game as Arsenal manager as his side came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Bournemouth in the Premier League on Thursday.

The two sides came into the game in poor form, with Bournemouth having lost six of their last seven and Arsenal only winning once since beating Bournemouth 1-0 at the Emirates on October 6.

Arteta restored Mesut Ozil to the starting line-up and the German forward looked sharp in the opening exchanges, but despite Arteta energetically encouraging his team from the sidelines, they failed to create many chances.

Arsenal's sloppiness was punished when they gave the ball away cheaply on the left wing and Bournemouth sliced through them quickly, midfielder Dan Gosling stabbing home Jack Stacey's centre from close range to give the home side the lead.

The Gunners equalised in the 63rd minute as Reiss Nelson's shot deflected into the path of Aubameyang, and he swivelled to rifle the ball home before a wild celebration with the traveling fans that earned him a yellow card.

Both sides created opportunities in the pouring rain, but neither could grab a winner and the draw left Arsenal in 10th place on 24 points, with Bournemouth four points further back in 15th.

Villa deal Norwich Boxing Day blow with 1-0 win in relegation battle

Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane scores their first goal against Norwich City at Villa Park in Birmingham

IMAGE: Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane scores their first goal against Norwich City at Villa Park in Birmingham. Photograph: Jon Super/Reuters

Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane gave his side a 1-0 home win over Norwich City to move them one step closer to safety in the Premier League on Thursday.

The result moved Villa to 18 points, within a point of 17th placed West Ham United, while Norwich remain deep in the drop zone.

Norwich full back Sam Byram nearly opened the scoring for the visitors in the 18th minute with a header from an Emi Buendia corner, only to see it come off the woodwork with goalkeeper Tom Heaton well and truly beaten.

Anwar El Ghazi had two good chances to put Villa ahead in the opening period.

But he first failed to sort out his feet when attempting a shot from Trezeguet's header across the box, before another first-time effort from a Matt Target cross went wide.

Villa finally made the breakthrough when skipper Jack Grealish and second-half substitute Hourihane combined in the box for the latter to sweep a left-footed strike past Tim Krul into the far corner.

Ayew magic seals win for Crystal Palace over West Ham

Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew scores past West Ham United's Roberto Action during their match at Selhurst Park in London

IMAGE: Crystal Palace's Jordan Ayew scores past West Ham United's Roberto Action during their match at Selhurst Park in London. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Jordan Ayew's magnificent late solo goal earned Crystal Palace a 2-1 come-from-behind home win against West Ham United in a lively festive derby at Selhurst Park on Thursday.

It looked as though honours would be even but Ayew produced an incredible moment of skill, pirouetting on the edge of the area, jinking past a West Ham defender and dinking a cool finish over West Ham keeper Roberto Jimenez.

West Ham, who had enjoyed a 12-day rest ahead of the Christmas programme, took the lead against the run of play in the 57th minute when Robert Snodgrass curled home left-footed.

Palace reacted impressively though and equalised 11 minutes later when Ayew nodded down for former West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate to volley home from close range.

The match had come alive after a poor first half in which Ayew had wasted the best chance when he scuffed wide from close range.

Victory was Palace's first in four Premier League games and lifted them into the top half of the table while West Ham remain hovering just above the relegation zone.

Battling Watford hold Sheffield United to 1-1 draw

Watford moved off the bottom of the Premier League after a spirited performance earned them a 1-1 draw at dominant Sheffield United on Thursday.

The visitors took a 27th-minute lead through Gerard Deulofeu against the run of play before Oliver Norwood levelled with a 36th-minute penalty after Will Hughes tripped George Baldock.

The result left Watford 19th on 13 points from 19 games, one ahead of bottom team Norwich City, while Sheffield United slipped one place down to sixth on 29 points.

After a 10-minute kick-off delay over what Sheffield United called operational issues, Oliver McBurnie twice went close for the home side before Deulofeu struck from out of the blue as he raced clear and scored with a neat finish from 12 metres.

Norwood levelled when he drove his spot-kick low past Watford keeper Ben Foster, who kept his side afloat with a superb 64th-minute reflex save to deny John Fleck from close range.

Foster palmed away an Enda Stevens scorcher before the visitors came agonisingly close to snatching a late winner, with Deulofeu curling a free kick inches wide of Dean Henderson's left-hand post.

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